Biden administration won’t sign contract for 500million Covid tests until ‘late next week’

The Biden administration will not be signing a contract for 500million coronavirus tests until ‘late next week’ (Pictures: Getty Images)

The contract for 500million coronavirus tests the Biden administration has promised to send to Americans’ homes for free will not be signed until ‘late next week’, White House coronavirus response coordinator Jeff Zients has admitted.

Zients broke the news on Wednesday, just over a week after President Joe Biden announced he would be purchasing the at-home test kits, as the Omicron variant spreads quickly nationwide.

‘The Department of Defense and HHS (Department of Health and Human Services) are executing on an accelerated contracting timeline. Companies are already submitting information and we expect the contract to be completed late next week,’ Zients said in a virtual news briefing.

‘That means that the first deliveries from manufacturers will start in January.’

Zients addedd that officials will ‘set up a free and easy system, including a new website, to get these tests out to Americans’.

‘We’re actively working to finalize that distribution mechanism, which includes a website where people will be able to order tests for free,’ Zients said.

He concluded, ‘we’ll share more details in the weeks ahead’, then immediately corrected himself by saying’ days and weeks ahead’.

Zients’ update came a week after Biden in an ABC News interview said, ‘I wish I had thought about ordering’ the tests ‘two months ago’.

The next day, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said the administration had ‘no concern about the contract being finalized’.

‘We’re just working to finalize the contracts. We just announced this two days ago. But there’s no – we don’t see any issue or any halt to getting that done and to finalizing that,’ Psaki said at the time. ‘That’s a natural part of the process.’

Biden was slammed for the shortage of coronavirus tests heading into Christmas as Americans gathered with their families, as tests will not be sent to homes until sometime in January.

The US reported a record-breaking 441,000 new Covid-19 cases on Monday, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

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